Alaska Military Projects, Veterans Benefit in Appropriations Bill
Military Construction & Veterans Affairs brings millions to state
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today announced more than $330 million is targeted for Alaska's military bases and for veterans programs and care in the $133.9 billion Fiscal Year 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that passed the Senate. The bill, which is $439 million more than the President's Budget Request, now goes to a joint House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences in the House and Senate legislation.
The provision for funding the Veterans Administration includes advance funding for the VA which was vigorously supported by Sen. Begich. Begich, a member of the Armed Services Committee and Veterans Affairs Committee, was a co-sponsor of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which President Obama signed into law last month.
"Our military bases are the backbone of the economy of our state, and this funding is critical to keeping them strong and able to support the mission of national defense," Begich said. "Additionally, advance funding for the VA will for the first time allow the agency to spend money, plan programs and take care of our veterans without having to get caught up in the bottleneck of annual Congressional appropriations."
The VA money will support a number of programs accessed by Alaska's 75,000 veterans including:
· Homeowners Assistance Program: $320 million for extension of this mortgage relief program to wounded warriors, surviving spouses, and military families required to relocate and who have suffered losses on home sales due to the mortgage crisis;
· Family Housing: $2 billion for family housing construction and privatization projects;
· Rural Health: $29 million for medical care for veterans in highly rural areas ;
· Rural Clinic Initiative: provides an additional $50 million in medical services to establish Community Based Outpatient Clinic in rural areas underserved by the VA;
· OIF/OEF Veterans: $2.1 billion to meet the health care needs of these veterans, including TBI and PTSD treatment programs;
· Homeless Veterans: $3.2 billion for health care and support for homeless veterans;
· Claims Processing: Provides resources to hire an additional 1,200 new claims processors in FY10, bringing the total workforce level to 14,549
"I will never stop advocating for our veterans and the care they deserve after serving this nation," Begich said. "This bill has a number of programs designed to ease the financial and health burdens many face when they return and later in life."
The military construction dollars headed to Alaska included in the bill passed today includes:
· Combat Pistol Range, Fort Richardson, $4.5M
· Airborne Sustainment Training Range Complex, Fort Richardson, $6.1M
· Training Aids Center, Fort Richardson, $2.05M
· Health Clinic, Fort Richardson, $3.518M
· Warrior in Transition Complex, Fort Richardson, $43M
· Aviation Task Force Complex, Phase 1, Fort Wainwright, $125M
· Aviation Unit Operations Complex, Fort Wainwright, $19M
· Railhead Complex, Fort Wainwright, $26M
· Warrior in Transition Complex, $28M
· Clear AFS, Power Plant Facility, $24.3M
· F-22 Weapons Load Training Facility, Elmendorf Air Force Base, $12.6
· Red Flag Alaska Add/Alter Operations Center, $3.1M
· Aeromedical Services/Mental Health Clinic, Elmendorf Air Force Base, $25.017M
· Arctic Utilidors Phase 11, Eielson Air Force Base, $9.9M
· Taxiway Lighting, Eielson Air Force Base, $3.45M